LA PAZ – President Evo Morales inaugurated a new furnace at the state-owned Vinto smelting complex that will allow Bolivia to gradually increase production of fine tin by 65 percent to 18,691 metric tons a year.
Bolivia is the world’s sixth-largest producer of tin.
The Vinto facility, located in the Andean region of Oruro, was expropriated in 2007 from Switzerland’s Glencore.
The plant now has a state-of-the-art Ausmelt furnace, Vinto manager Ramiro Villavicencio said.
The acquisition, installation and start-up of the new furnace required a $39.4 million investment and took seven years to complete, four years longer than called for in the original plan.
Vinto currently produces between 11,300 and 11,800 tons of metallic tin a year, accounting for 75 percent of Bolivia’s total output, according to figures provided by the president’s office.
In 2014, Vinto exported $270 million in fine tin.